57°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Human remains found during search at Grand Canyon

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Crews searching for a missing man at Grand Canyon National Park made an unexpected discovery this summer.

They found the remains of another person, believed to be Scott Walsh, who was last seen stepping off a shuttle bus at the park’s South Rim in 2015. The clothing had blended in with the surroundings, and the body was positioned in a way that made it almost undetectable, said park spokeswoman Joelle Baird.

“It happens every once in a while here during searches that we end up finding people we weren’t expecting,” she said Wednesday.

Crews had been looking for Gabor Berczi-Tomscanyi, a Hungarian national who lived in Hong Kong. He was reported missing to police in Las Vegas in late July while traveling in the U.S. Southwest. The car he was driving was located in a Grand Canyon parking lot in mid-August and his body was found a few days later — about 430 feet below the canyon’s rim at Yavapai Point.

Authorities determined Berczi-Tomscanyi died from a traumatic fall but are still investigating what led up to it.

The other body was spotted during an aerial search for Berczi-Tomscanyi. It was found about 600 feet below the Pipe Creek overlook and about 3 miles from where Walsh’s day pack was found in 2015, Baird said.

“The fact that he was found was just coincidental,” she said. “We weren’t necessarily looking for him, and he wasn’t a person that was really on our radar.”

Walsh wasn’t reported to the park as missing in 2015. His last known residence was in Ecuador. Park officials believe it’s him because the day pack had prescriptions with his name on them, and a jacket found with the remains had a driver’s license issued to Walsh out of Brooklyn, New York, Baird said. He was 56 years old.

The park hasn’t been able to locate any immediate family but has talked with friends of Walsh, Baird said.

The Coconino County medical examiner’s office is working to confirm the identity of the skeletal remains. County spokeswoman Trish Lees said that might require DNA testing.

Unintentional finds don’t happen often at Grand Canyon National Park, which covers 1,904 square miles. The park is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

Rangers doing scheduled training have found remains of people months and years after they were reported missing. Sometimes, rafters on the Colorado River that flows through the Grand Canyon find them.

In December 2017, rafters on a day hike found the remains of a California man who was last seen on a trail in June of that year.

In 2015, a group of rafters in search of old mining equipment on a hike in the canyon came across the wreckage of a small aircraft with human bones scattered nearby.

Investigators had long suspected the homebuilt plane was piloted by Joseph Radford of Glendale, Arizona, and crashed in the canyon in March 2011, likely on purpose, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report. But until the rafters’ discovery, there were no visual signs of a crash site.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Up to 10K California trees to be removed; road to large sequoias closed

In the wake of California wildfires, upwards of 10,000 trees weakened by fires, drought, disease or age must be removed, work that will keep a nearby highway closed to visitors who seek the world’s two largest sequoia trees.

Pfizer COVID vaccine looks effective for young kids, says FDA

Federal health regulators said late Friday that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues, as the U.S. weighs beginning vaccinations in youngsters.

Data offers glimpse of breakthrough risks for Southern Nevada workers

There have been more than 500 vaccine breakthrough infections of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated casino workers in Clark County, a number similar to that of health care workers.

Baldwin didn’t know weapon contained live round, warrant says

Alec Baldwin was handed a loaded weapon by an assistant director who indicated it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot a cinematographer, court records released Friday show.

Sheriff: Actor Baldwin fired shot on movie set that killed woman

A prop firearm discharged by veteran actor Alec Baldwin, who is starring and producing a Western movie, killed his director of photography and injured the director Thursday at the movie set outside Santa Fe, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said.

CDC expands COVID booster rollout, OKs mixing shots

Millions more Americans can get a COVID-19 booster and choose a different company’s vaccine for that next shot, federal health officials said Thursday.

FDA OKs mixing COVID vaccines; backs Moderna, J&J boosters

U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially.

Items linked to Brian Laundrie, potential remains found

Items believed to belong to Brian Laundrie and potential human remains were found Wednesday at a Florida wilderness park during the search for clues in the slaying of Gabby Petito during the couple’s cross-country road trip, according to law enforcement sources and a Laundrie family attorney.

 
US likely to authorize mix-and-match COVID booster shots

Federal regulators are expected to authorize the mixing and matching of COVID-19 booster doses this week in an effort to provide flexibility as the campaign for extra shots expands.